Understanding the Habit of Comparison

This past weekend I had the chance to spend some time at First Fruits Farm in Freeland, Maryland, harvesting produce that would all be given to the Maryland Food Bank.  This was an opportunity I had been looking forward to with excitement but also a sense of uncertainty as I’ve never seriously tried my hand at farming. The morning I was there was gorgeous! The sky was clear, the sun was shining, the air was crisp and cool…


On this particular morning the farm was harvesting potatoes and our instructions were to collect any potato that not was rotting or split apart. Soon after we started I noticed that many of the potatoes we were finding did not look like the prize-winning, perfectly shaped ones that end up in our grocery store. What we were finding looked disfigured and misshapen but they were potatoes all the same! When one of the farmers saw our puzzled expressions he noted, “Yep, this is what most potatoes ACTUALLY look like.”


Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” So maybe one way to work on returning to a joyous state is not to white-knuckle our way through a comparison detox but to look a little closer at what we’re measuring ourselves against.


In our socially network-savvy world we use snapshot moments to project an image that is about more than what So and So ate for breakfast or Mr. & Mrs. So and So’s Mediterranean vacation, rather these images are used to share a message about our life. This makes comparing our lives to others very easy and is often times encouraged.

The problem with this comparison module is that the picture of our chocolate croissant , new car, engagement ring, and family in perfectly matching attire by a peaceful lake are only a part of our life and certainly do not represent the whole story. These images are simply the prize winning potatoes.